From history thesis to Tribal Director
Holly Sprague '11 JD, Trust Services Director
Major: history and American Indian studies
Awards: Wilma Pugh Award
Additional Degrees: J.D. Candidate 2014
Employer: Muckleshoot Indian Tribe
As Trust Services Director for the Muckleshoot Indian Tribe, Holly Sprague oversees and directs all allotted individual Indian land development and protection, as well as overseeing leasing and probate for the tribe. She works closely with the Bureau of Indian Affairs, Muckleshoot Tribal Council, and individual community members.
Holly received a J.D. from the Seattle University School of Law in 2015, but her expertise on tribal land issues began with her Mount Holyoke senior thesis “Unjust Compensation: Grand Coulee Dam, Indian Claims and the Colville Nation.” With a Wilma Pugh award from the MHC History department, Holly interviewed her relatives and direct descendants of the Colville Confederated tribe who lost their land and their access to salmon as a means of subsistence in the construction of Grand Coulee Dam.
Holly argued in her thesis that neither the original compensation of approximately $10-50 offered to tribal members who owned affected land, nor the larger compensation of $3,000 to $5,000 per year offered to tribal members after the Colvilles won their 40+ year court case could be considered just compensation.
A descendant of the Arrow Lakes Band of the Colville Confederated Tribes, Holly is happy to be working on tribal land issues again.
“My perseverance combined with the guidance received at Mount Holyoke allowed me to make my vision of serving tribal communities a reality. Every day I serve the community that surrounds me with honesty and integrity with the goal of strengthening tribal sovereignty. I encourage everyone to follow their passion and make it a reality.”